© 1990 Electronic Zoo
Xiphos is an action/strategy/war game realized in 3D for the Amiga, Atari ST,
IBM PC and compatible computers.
To play Xiphos you will need fast reactions, skill and wisdom. You will take
part in complex space battles, dock with space bases, talk to aliens and trade
for the supplies you need to traverse the six universes of the Xiphon system.
On your travels through the war torn Xiphon territory, you will encounter
battles bitterly fought out between the Pio and Qon factions. Sometimes you
will get involved on one side or the other. Sometimes it will be best to stay
clear. If you are successful in your quest you will have the chance to destroy
the omnipotent superbrain, Xiphos himself.
To sharpen your wits and prepare for the full Xiphos mission, you can take
the role of a space raider in an action-only version of the game. When you are
ready, the full multi-universe waits you. We strongly recommend that you play
Xiphos in the dark.
Xiphon history is nearly as old as that of the civilised universe itself. To
understand the Xiphons we must go back to the early days of galactic
civilisation. The known universe was expanding and every year new systems were
brought into the fold under the benign guidance of the Galactic Council.
For the Xiphons and the other founding civilisations, life was rich and
rewarding. There seemed no end in sight to the growth of their culture and no
end to the affluence of their peoples.
Like civilisations before it, in time the vigorous growth slowed down. Mot
that the civilisation became decadent exactly, but somehow breakneck expansion
ceased to hold the old excitement. After all, hadn't they done enough
colonising? Wasn't it now time for a respite; a little peace and quiet? Tyhe
different races all found their own ways of adapting to the new mood.
Some concentrated on the arts, some on science and others drifted out of the
mainstream of galactic culture. Still others lapsed into political infighting
and power struggle.
The Xiphons reacted more radically. Disenchanted with the galactic
civilisation they had helped to bring about they resolved to opt out once and
The Xiphon retreat caused a good deal of upset in the Galactic Council.
Ambassadors rushed to and fro in what came to be known as 'warp diplomacy'. But
it was their privilege; their right as citizens. Nobody could stop them. After
this communication ceased. Little was heard of the Xiphons officially although
rumours were rife. Travellers found the whole Xiphon cluster closed off by a
huge force field and nobody couls gain access.
Little by little the Galactic Council was able to piece together what
information there was until a picture emerged. Shortly after closing off their
borders the Xiphons had embarked on a huge project to create for themselves a
secure and impenetrable enclave. They had used certain known space expansion
techniques to construct five artificial spaces, nested within one another. To
the ordinary observer the Xiphon space seemed no larger than before. In fact,
gatre constructed in space gave access to an infinitely large artificial space
which formed the outer nest of te new system. Somewhere in this new space was
located another gate giving access to a further universe, and so on.
Because the Xiphon system defies ordinary notions of space, an accurate
diagram is difficult to construct. For an approximate representation, reading
are directed to picture 1. UO represents the Xiphon system as observed from
outside. The gate at GO allows access to U1, the first artificial universe. G1
gives access to U2, G2 to U3, and so on. The Universes UO,U1,U2,U3,U4,U5 and U6
are infinite on the inside but occupy no space when seen from their enclosing
Why the Xiphons chose to construct such a system we may never know.
Whatever their reasons, the novelty of the Xiphon system did ot end there for
at the very centre of the system in U6 they constructed a vast artificial
intelligence to whose care they entrusted the government and management of the
entire system. This intelligence they named Xiphos.
Government by artifact was not at the time new. It had been tried with
varying degreses of success on several worlds. But nowhere before had anything
on the scale of Xiphos been attempted.
Once again, little is known of how the project fared over the centuries that
followed. Information that did emerge seemed to suggest that all was well
within the Xiphon system. Certainly the Xiphons were no trouble to anyone else.
They avoided all contact and no one bothered them.
The Xiphon retreat, at ythe time much discussed in the rest of the galaxy,
was soon forgotten and it was not iuntil centuries later that interest in
Xiphon affairs once again rose to prominence.
For some time the Galactic Council had been aware of occasional strange
disturbances, insignificant to begin with, had become increasingly frequent.
Space liners disappeared unaccountably and on more thsan one occasion entire
populated plants were swallowed up.
At that time no one had an explanation for the phenomena and certainly no
reason to link it with the Xiphons. Nontheless, as time went on more and more
evidence pointed to the giant intelligence Xiphos as the cause. For the first
time in centuries a delegation was sent to the Xiphon cluster in an attempt to
The diplomats who made up the delegation had little idea of what to expect of
a culture isolated for so long. What they did find was a shock. In accordance
with established diplomatic custom they travelled to the Xiphon border and
waited politely to be recognised. After some days without contact and after
several attempts at communication, they ventured cautiously acros the border.
Still there ewas no sign of life and nothing to suggest the existence of
civilisation within. In the ordinary way the mission would at that point have
retreated. This was a job for a properly supported exploratory expedition, not
a single diplomatic ship. However, the eyes of the Universe were on them. They
decided to travel on.
The diplomatic mission did not get far. But it got far enough. In the end
they had made contact,but not at a diplomatic level. As they penetrated into
Xiphon territory they stumbled upon a craft, made contact and gleaned a little
scanty information concerning the system and its inhabitants. After this, other
missions followed and a picture was gradually built up of Xiphon history
following the retreat so many centuries before.
The period following the retreat had been one of great prosperity for the
Xiphons. The superbrain Xiphos regulated their artificial system efficiently
and to the great benefit of Xiphon society. The architects of the new Xiphon
order felt vindicated. They saw their society as the most liberated and
enlightened in the known Universe and they looked forward to a secure and
All went well for many centuries-but when disaster struck, it struck
The Xiphons woke up one morning to find their world in unaccountable
disarray. everthing had stopped working. Power was cut, communications were out
and the transport system was gone. Anyone tuning into one of the
poly-dimensional TV channels got nothing but a rpeating broadcast from Xiphos
to the Xiphon people, which translated loosely as 'I Quit'.
There was panic.
The Xiphons, depending as they did utterly on Xiphos to run their automated
culture were lost. They had no manual backup systems, and no infrastucture.
Within days all semblance of civilised culture had disolved into chaos. It was
every alien for himself.
The period after the collapse was tough for the Xiphons. Civilisations did
slowly re-emerge but it was primitive compared with what it replaced. The
Xiphons, desperate for energy and the other basics of life, cared little about
the environment. Their plants, once green and lush, gradually became polluted
and ultimately uninhabitable.
Exactly how the Xiphons became the space-habiting race that they are today is
unclear. At some point the planets must have lost the ability to support life,
leaving only those who had access to space with a chance to survive. The
process must have been accelerated by the civil war which even then had broken
out in many places. In any case, after a century or two the situation had
settled down into the more or less stable war that rages to this day.
It must have been during this period that, out of the chaos, rival Xiphon
factions emerged. By the time time the first expedition arrived these had been
consolidated into two opposing groups, the Pios and the Qons.
The Xiphon war is now many centuries old. It is said that when hostilities
began, fighting was confined to the inner Universes, where even now it rages
most fiercely. In those days huge space fleets fought epic battles for control
of the few planets still inhabitable. As time went on, however the fighting
spread to the whole system, where now the evenly balanced Pio and Qon forces
continue the war on a more dispersed basis.
The bases, which date from an earlier period, house the population and are
zealously guarded by their garrisons. The bases are not exclusively military
and have become specialized, performing the various functions of a space going
civilisation. There are factories, libraries, museums, temples, as well as the
huge bases devoted to the manufacture of ships and fighting hardware.
Much technology has over the years been lost and new bases are rarely
constructed. The object of the war from the point of view of each faction is to
control territory and bases. For this reason a base of a particular model may
be under the control of either faction. Ships, however, are often destroyed and
are manufactured by each faction to its own distinctive designs. Travellers
come to know the ship types and associate them with one side or the other.
Although the Xiphon factions have fought a bitter war for many centuries,
over time certain customs and practices have become established. The most
important of these concerns the conservation of the remaning habitable areas in
the Xiphon system: the bases. The Xiphons know that if these were lost there
would be nowhere for their populations to live. Strategic success, however,
depends on territory and it is for the control of the bases that the Pios and
Qons fight on. Xiphons never attack bases directly. Instead, they employ
tactics of siege warfare to force their surrender. Occasionally, though, a
situation develops where one faction or another perceives such a strategic
advantage in destroying an enemy base that considerations of conservation are
outweighed. On these occasions, in order to avoid retaliation, the faction
wishing to destroy a rival base would much rather have its dirty work done by
an outsider. For this and other reasons, the Xiphons tolerate the small number
of mercenaries who make their living fighting in the pay of one faction or the
The Xiphons (not the most environmentally friendly of races) may latterly
have come to care, in a casual way, for their remaining living space. However,
their scruples do not extend to ships. Any ship, civilian or military, is fair
game, and both factions encourage bounty hunting on the part of anyone who
cares to try their luck. So much so that a scale of bounty prices has become
established. These prices are known to hunters and are honoured at Xiphon
This is good news for the unscrupulous traveller who can live as a bounty
hunter, fighting on whichever side gives him the prettiest pickings.
The Universes of the Xiphon system, because they are artefacts, differ from
normal space in two important ways. It is essential for any traveller in the
system to understand these differences.
THE POTENTIAL FIELD
Each Xiphon Universe encloses a strong potential field stretching from North
to South (laterally across the map). Potential energy increases in this
direction and in order to overcome the field any moving ship must supply
energy. The Xiphon field is very like a planet's gravitational filed. Moving
south in a Xiphon Universe is like climbing to a higher altitude above a
planet; it takes energy. Moving north is like falling, and yields energy.
The energy banks of your ship, The Arrow do not contain enough energy to
cover the distance from entry pole to the exit pole base. To cover this
distance and for other reasons (see Ship Controls) energy must be acquired en
route from Xiphon bases.
It is essential that a supply of energy is maintained at all times. If you
run out of energy you will feel the pull of the Potential field and will be
accelerated north until you have regained enough energy to maintain your
position. Energy can always be gained by moving north, away from the pole base.
Travel in the east-west direction does not affect energy levels.
It is possible to continue south even if the arrow runs out of energy, by
expending fuel. However, without energy to feed the shields and to launch
missiles you will be at the mercy of any attack and in any case will be unable
to gain the credits necessary for passage to the next Universe.
The Xiphone universes are so polluted that a thin 'atmosphere' of CFC's and
food additives now fills the entire system. This has been used to advantage by
Xiphon ship designers, who have constructed ships with bird-like flapping
The presence of an atmoshpere also allows sound to travel. But because the
atmosphere is thin this happens slowly. The sounds of distant battle take
longer to reach the observer than they would in a thicker planetary atmosphere.
SHIPS AND BASES
Because of the impenetrability of the Xiphon system, information concerning
the deeper Universes is at best sketchy. The most reliable body of data
concerns the outer Universe, but even this is incomplete and travellers still
report encounters with hitherto unknown varieties of craft. The notes that
follow will acquaint the reader with some of the known ship and base types. The
list, however, is far from complete.
It is known that the Xiphon Wars originally began in the inner Universe. The
few travellers to have reached these regions, and returned, report a harsher
and more dangerous environment than that which prevails at the outer levels.
The log of Captain Bastable, an early traveller, reports the following
adverse circumstances affecting the deeper Universe levels:
The military supply chain becomes weaker with the increasing age and ferocity
of the war. Bases in the inner Universes tend to specialize more in their own
products. They are less likely to carry a range of commodities.
The potential field enveloping the Universes becomes stronger. More energy
is needed to overcome the field in the north - south direction.
In certain regions the ferocity of the fighting can be extremely intense;
more so than in the outer Universe. In general, the Xiphon crews are better
trained and equipped.
KNOWN BASE MODELS
The following list catalogues some of the Xiphon base models recorded by
travellers. This data is maintained by the Galactic Council's Central Xiphon
Research Agency. The database is constantly updated and revised by new reports
but is still far from complete.
It has been estimated that data is available for about one tenth of the
Xiphon Base types. Because of the changing territorial situation, bases
frequently change hands. The Galactic Council database does not contain
information concerning the position or allegiance of any individual base.
Relatively up-to-date information can be obtained on occasion from the bases
BASE CODE: M112
CLASS: CIVILIAN SETTLEMENT
POPULATION: 2000-5000 BEINGS
SEX RATIO: 40:40:20
This common model houses non-combatant Xiphon populations. An M112 usually
supports a strong garrison, but overall command is non-military.
BASE CODE: M109
CLASS: SHIP MANUFACTURING
This base type is a military installation devoted to the design, construction
and commissioning of ships. These bases are well protected as they house a
technology now apparently lost to the Xiphons. They do occasionally change
hands and appear capable of producing ships to the design of either faction.
BASE CODE: B2
CLASS: WORSHIP AREA/TEMPLE
POPULATION: TRANSITORY 200-300
This base model provides a retreat for battle weary military and civillians.
Each temple is dedicated to a different deity in the Xiphon religion and
supports a resident order of clergy and prebendaries. At one time the worship
areas were by mutual consent completely non-combatant. Widespread exploitation
of this status led to the abandonment of the treaty and the temples now carry a
small military garrison of one side or the other.
BASE CODE: M100
POPULATION: TRANSITORY 400-500
This base was originally a space liner model used by rich Xiphons on the
Grand Galactic Tour. Now there are no rich Xiphons, and the remaining bases are
used as infirmaries for those suffering from common Xiphon ailments such as
knotted antennae or haematoma of the proboscis.
BASE CODE: TON3
CLASS: GERIATRIC ALIENS' HOME
POPULATION: TRANSITORY 800-1000
The life cycle of the Xiphon, after the larval and adult phases, ends in a
horrible green puddle of steaming liquid. The TON3 base is equipped with
intensive care vats to provide a homely environment for senior Xiphons.
BASE CODE: M118
CLASS: PLEASURE SPHEE AND RESTAURANT
POPULATION: PERMANENT 130
Xiphon combatants on leave enjoy hanging out on the ring which surrounds the
pleasure globe itself. Decency forbids a full description of the range of
activities on offer. Suffice it to say that the pleasure chambers are hosed
The success of any adventurer who dares enter the Xiphon system must depend
first on his ship and his skill as it pilot. Much effort has been devoted to
the evolution of the specialized class of ship capable of standing up to the
Xiphon environment. The Arrow is the latest model and incorporates several
novel features, not least the navigation and control system itself.
NAVIGATION AND CONTROL
1.THE NAVIGATION DATABASE
Navigation is achieved using a three-level, computerized information package.
At the top level is the database, maintained by the shipboard computer which
accumulates information concerning the populated region of a whole Xiphon
Universe. The database is updated automatically whenever the ID system is
invoked to identify a base and also from information traded from bases. A
graphic readout of the database is invoked with the F7 key, which overlays a
Head-Up-Display of a map of the entire current Universe. A key to the map
which depicts the position of known bases and their allegiance is provided in
the upper part of the map. The map will continue to be displayed until cleared
with the F8 key. However, the cockpit view is still visible as a shadow behind
the map and all controls remain active.
Information concerning a more local region of space around the ship is
depicted in the radar display in the centre of the control panel. Objects
within a certain range are represented as dots, joined by lines to the radar
'surface'. The length and direction of the line indicates the object's altitude
relative to the Arrow's position. Thw two shift keys control the range of the
radar. The left shift key increases range to give a large scale view of local
space and the right shift key reduces it, providing a display more suitable for
combat and close up manoeuvring. In all there are five range settings.
3.THE COCKPIT VIEW.
This is not a dirct external view, which would be dangerous to human eyes
due to the wildly changing light intensities during combat, but a
computerised display. The Arrow's computer uses external scanners together
with its own flight monitor system to yield an integrated display of
immediate space with computer-generated status information.
The Arrow's flight controls allow control over the altitude of the craft and
the power delivered to its forward and retro thrusters.
In order to give the ship increased stability at high thrust, giros limit the
angle of elevation ( << >> ). An attempt to increase this angle beyond a
certain limit causes vertical thrusters to propel the craft upward or downward
( <<< >>> ). Beacause of the increased stability of design, the ship is able to
tolerate much greater acceleration than conventional ships, including most in
the Xiphon system.
CONTROL MODE 1
| ___ ___ | 1. Retro Thrusters
| | | | | | 2. Forward Thrusters
| | 1 | | 2 | | 3. Left rotation
/___3 | |___| |___| | 4___\ 4. Right Rotation
\ | | / 5. Elevation
| | 6. Elevation
|_____________| F1 Lock missiles
F2 LOS missiles
\/ Control Configurations
A choice of control configurations is available to the
6 Arrow's pilot via the C key.
CONTROL MODE 2
_____________ Arrow Keys
| ___ ___ | 1. LOS missiles *
| | | | | | 2. Lock missiles /\
| | 1 | | 2 | | 3. Left rotation ||
/___3 | |___| |___| | 4___\ 4. Right Rotation /__ __\
\ | | / 5. Elevation \ /
| | 6. Elevation ||
| | \/
|_____________| * Forward Thrusters *
* Retro Thrusters
\/ Control Configurations
A choice of control configurations is available to the
6 Arrow's pilot via the C key.
CONTROL MODE 3
| ___ ___ | 1. Fire last selected missile
| | | | | | 2. Fire last selected missile
| | 1 | | 2 | | 3. Left rotation
/___3 | |___| |___| | 4___\ 4. Right Rotation
\ | | / 5. Elevation
| | 6. Elevation
Forward and Retro thrusters as on Control Mode 2
\/ Control Configurations
A choice of control configurations is available to the
6 Arrow's pilot via the C key.
___ ___ ___
| || || | 2. Elevation
| 7 || 8 || 9 | 4. Rotate Left
|___||___||___| 5. Fire last selected missile
___ ___ ___ 6. Rotate right
| || || | 8. Elevation
| 4 || 5 || 6 |
___ ___ ___
| || || |
| 1 || 2 || 3 |
The Arrow supports five weapons delivery systems.
Systems 1 and 2 take standard ammunition, a supply of which is provided at
The remaining 3 delivery systems are designed to accomodate other locally
DELIVERY SYSTEMS AND WEAPON SPECIFICATION
The basic specification of a weapon includes 4 parameters. These are measured
in Standard Length Units (SLU) and Standard Energy Units (SEU). Each of the
Arrow's on board energy cells holds 1.0 SEU. One SLU is approximately the
length of an average ship.
1. Launch Energy. This is the energy supplied to the launch system from the
Arrow's energy cells.
2. Range. The effective range of the missile.
3. Impact Energy. The energy released when a missile detonates.
4. Fuse proximity. The distance from target at which the missile will auto
LOCK MISSILES - KEY F1
Range 1000 SLU
Impact Energy 50 SEU
Launch Energy 0.3-1.0 SEU
Fuse Proximity 0.0 SLU
____ ____ ____ ____ ____
| || || || || |
| F1 || F2 || F3 || F4 || F5 |
LOCK LOS FAF RING NUKE
When this system is invoked an invisible force-beam is set up pointing
outward in the line of the ship. The beam does not itself carry appreciable
energy, it is merely there to guide the Lock missile which travels along it.
The effect is similar to a beam weapon in that the missile holds a path locked
to the Arrow even though the latter may be rotating. A Lock missile aimed
because it is guaranteed to travel in the line under the sights.
THE LINE OF SIGHT (LOS) MISSILE - KEY:F2
Range 1000 SLU
Impact Energy 80 SEU
Launch Energy 0.3 - 1.2 SEU
Fuse Proximity 0.0 SLU
The LOS missile travels in the line of sight of the ship at launch time. This
weapom should be aimed at the predidcted position of the target at estimated
impact time. LOS missiles are launched in pairs from tubes situated in front of
the port and starboard thrusters.
HOMING MISSILES - KEY:F3
Range 800-5000 SLU
Impact Energy 1000 SEU
Launch Energy 1 - 5 SEU
Fuse Proximity 200 SLU
These missiles are colloquially known as Fire and Forget (FAF) missiles. The
launch system and the missile's local computer work together to deliver the
missile to a specific target. Before a FAF can be launched the target must be
identified using the standard ID mechanism as described below.
FAF missiles lock onto their target by means of a heat sensing receptor. For
this reason they can only be used against targets with active engines. The
Xiphon bases, which are not normally under propulsion, do not provide a
sufficiently strong heat image.
RING MISSILES - KEY:F4
Range 1000 SLU
Impact Energy 200 SEU
Launch Energy 0.5 - 2.0 SEU
Fuse Proximity 100 SLU
These missiles travel in a similar way to LOS missiles. However, they trigger
at a greater range and release more energy. Because of its Fuse proximity, the
effect of a ring missile is no more than that of a LOS, in spite of its greater
energy dissipation. It is useful in situations where precise aiming is
difficult. These missiles tend to be more expensive than LOS because of their
STRATEGIC NUKES - KEY:F5
Range 800 - 5000 SLU
Impact Energy 100 MSEU
Launch Energy 1 - 5 SEU
Fuse Proximity 200 SLU
These weapons, which carry a nuclear device, are outlawed by galaxywide
treaty except in the Xiphon system. They are environmentally extremely damaging
and even the Xiphons use them rarely. With Strategic Nuke, destruction of any
target is virtually guaranteed, provided that the missile can be delivered.
Despite their high cost these weapons are considered to afford the highest
chance of destroying Xiphos himself.
The Arrow can carry a maximum of 55 energy banks. The energy contained in
each bank is quite large and each bank is broken down into 48 cells. The energy
status readout located on the bottom right hand corner of the control panel
consists of 2 displays. The upper one shows the number of banks that currently
contain energy. The lower shows the number of cells remaining in the bank
currently being consumed.
All functions which consume energy draw on this common pool.
Energy can be drained by the following factors:
2.Feeding the protective shields which protect against enemy fire
3.Overcoming the potential field in each of the Xiphon Universes when the Arrow
travels South. (see Xiphon Physics)
Energy can be supplied to the Arrow in two ways:
1.By travelling North and thereby feeding energy from the potential field into
the Arrow's banks.
2.By purchase from friendly bases.
Fuel is carried by the Arrow in banks similar to the banks that contain
energy. The readout for these is at the bottom of the left hand side of the
control panel. Fuel is consumed only while the forward or retro engines are
If you run out of fuel or energy you will begin to feel a pull towards the
entry pole (North) and wil lose the ability to accelerate or decelerate. You
can, however, still rotate your craft all the way round and point up or down to
a limited extent. The chances are that if you run out of fuel, you will
eventually die by falling out of the Universe and becoming lost in Space, but
there is a last chance; if your path takes you close enough to a base, and you
have credits of the right sort, you can turn on your docking beacon and hope
that the base will pull you in with its tractor beam. Then you can buy fuel or
energy to continue your journey.
THE ID SYSTEM
The Arrow's general purpose ID (identification) system is used whenever any
object specific fuction is invoked. The ID system identifies ships or bases
1.For docking beacon transmission
2.For ship/base data readout
3.For use with FAF missiles and strategic nukes
To identify an object hit the F9 key. The ID system will 'tag' a flashing ID
box to one of the objects in the display. As you repeatedly hit F9, the box
will move from object to object. Stop when the box tags the object you wish to
identify. Identified objects are highlighted in the radar display by a flasing
Identification can be vey useful for keeping track of a ship in a complex
battle. The ID tag will remain around around an object until a new object is
SHIP/BASE DATABASE READOUT
The F10 key causes the Arrow's computer to search its database for any
information on the currently identified object. Any information (in particular
on the factions Pio or Qon) will be displayed in the panel's text display area.
The Arrow is equipped with a time stasis field which causes time to 'stand
still' for all on board systems (including human systems). The field is
energised (and de-energised) by the P key
The S key causes sights to be overlayed on the main diplay. The S key also
removes the sights. Whenever the Arrow's computer detects a target under the
sights it signals the fact by contracting the sight image.
The docking beacon is raised by first identifying a base using the ID system
and then hitting the F6 key. If your message is received and the base wishes to
permit docking it will place you under the control of a powerful tractor beam
and guide your ship towards its docking port.
The Arrow's current status can be displayed with the ESC key. The meaning of
the information in a status report is as follows:
F:00 E:00 M:00 :00 :00 :00 :00
(fuel, energy, LOC, LOS, FOF, RING, NUKE)
Once you have found a friendly base and docked successfully (F9 to ID the
base and then F6), you will be able to negotiate for supplies in return for
the bounty credits as recorded on your control panel indicators. It is
essential to know the allegiance, Pio or Qon, of the base you are trading with.
Pio bases will only be interested in Qon kills (right hand numeric display) and
will not take kindly to being offered the wrong sort. As soon as you are
docked, ask to see the bases's price list by typing 'deal' (you can abbreviate
and word). The base will project information onto your screen and expect you to
open negotiations. Bases are usually willing to haggle and will discount their
prices, especially for bulk purchases.
MAKING AN OFFER
To make an offer you must type the quantity you wish to buy followed by the
name of the commodity and then the total offer price. For example, if the
screen shows energy at 15 credits per cell, you might type:
10 energy 120 <return>
10 e 120
You are offering the base less than the asking price of 15 credits per cell
and it will either reject or accept your offer. As you trade, the screen will
show a record of your transactions including the total amount spent. To end the
session type 'quit' or 'OK'. The base will ask you to transfer the credits you
have spent. eg:
1000 credits please
you must respond with:
If you fail to pay or if you don't have enough credits of the right sort, the
base is likely to become annoyed, eject you and start firing using a
particularly powerful beam weapon and probably missiles. The best strategy at
this point is to retreat rapidly.
ASKING FOR HELP
If you say 'help' to a base it may give you useful information. Be alert the
information will probably not be repeated.
BUYING PASSAGE FROM A POLE BASE
The pole base is the only type able to transport you into the next deepest
universe. The pole base can be identified by its hollow interior. Among the
items at pole bases is 'Passage'.
This is expensive (usually around 1000 credits) and can be purchased by
typing, for example,
Or however much you are offering.
A base will usually think that it knows which side you are on and it won't
let you dock if you are considered an enemy, so don't go firing at its ships!
When you have managed to find a base that likes you, you can turn on your
docking beacon and get pulled in by the bases's tractor beam. Any attempt to
get too close to a base without permission will cause you to be repelled by its
protective force shield.
Once docked, spend your credits wisely. The first priority is to have the
fuel and energy you need to take you as far south as possible. You must also be
sure that you have at least the cheapest type of missile so that you can gain
more credits. If you want navigational data you will need to buy information in
the form of an info podule. I f you can afford it you can also buy the more
expensive weapons. Traversing a universe therefore consists of runnign around,
picking up credits in your local area and trading these for supplies you need
to get further south. It will probably take you between 5 and 15 dickings to
make it to the pole-base. There you should stock up with supplies as you
cannot take credits into the next universe (this is ecause Pios and Qons rarely
travel across universe boundaries and are suspicious of each others 'foreign'
currency). Once you have stocked up, purchased passage and paid, you will be
projected into the next universe. During passage, be prepared to lose part of
your energy in crossing the potential energy gap in between the universes.
FINDING THE POLE BASE
The strength of the rival Xiphon factions can be measured byt he territory
they hold. Each base is an important strategic link and it is vital to each
side that they hold bases well spread out through the territory. Strategically
the most important base is the one guarding access to the next Iniverse; the
Pole base. The faction holding the Pole base controls all inter-universe
traffic and has the power to allow or forbid passage.
The physical laws governing inter Universe travel require that the Pole base
be situated in a region of high Potential Energy, that is at the southern end
of the territory. Its exact position is not fixed and may be anywhere south of
latitude (sector) 14. For security reasons, the Pole base is never identified
on any map. Often it is not marked at all. bases in the area know where it is
and may guide you if you ask by typing 'help'.
One more reliable way of finding the Pole is to look out for the space
creatures known as Wanderers. These semi-intelligent animals inhabit the region
around the Pole and feed off the energies released during inter-universe jumps.
For this reason Wanderers are eager to help you find the Pole base as your
passage into the next Universe will provide a tasty meal or raw energy for
them. If you are within a few sectors of the Pole base you will almost
certainly run into one of these creatures who will guide you in. If you make
friends with a Wanderer you must protect it against enemy fire. Hostile ships
wishing to impede your progress will think nothing of blasting a Wanderer and
you must head these ships off and destroy them.
Your aim as the Galactic Council's agent is to make your way into the heart
of the Xiphon universe structure to the central universe, where it is beleived
that the giant and evil intelligence Xiphos still lurks. Once there you must
destroy Xiphos utterly.
To reach the central universe you must travel through the war torn outer
universes in the guise of a mercenary, living off the spoils of war.
The strategic aim in each universe is to reach the exit pole without
misadventure and with enough credits at least to buy passage into the next. To
do this you must overcome the gravitational field which drains your energy as
you move south. Energy, along with supplies, is available from the bases that
populate each universe in exchange for credits. Credits are of two types: Pio
an Qon. Pio credits are gained by destroying Qon ships and Qon credits for
destroying Pio ships.
A base run by the Pio faction will be interested in the Pio credits (right
hand panel indicator). You can however carry both sorts, as your onboard
computer will automatically transfer credits of the correct sort when you use
the 'transfer' command (see docking).
Pio an Qon ships can be seen as blips in the radar display. You can tell
whether the object represented by a radar blip is above or below you by
determining whether the stalk joining the blip to the horizontal radar display
points up or down. To see an object in the main 3D display, adjust your
orientation so that the stalk disappears. Once you are correctly oriented,
distant ships will appear as dots or lines on the 3D screen.
Ships can be found alone or in groups either travelling together or in
combat. Your ship, the Arrow, is well cloaked and Xiphon ships will usually not
show any interest in you unless you display hostile behaviour. Once you open
fire you will be regarded as fair game by allies of the ship that you fired at.
If you decide to get involved in an existing battle, try to figure out which
faction is the stronger and join in on that side. You don't have to know
whether it is Pio or Qon, although it is essential to know which side you are
on when approaching a base for trading.
Success in the Xiphon system depends on you r ability to use limited
resources effectively. In other words, you won't get far simply by blasting
everthing in sight. To get ahead in the Xiphon system you must choose your
targets carefully and use the right weapon. You must plan your route and take
advantage of the fighting already going on around you. Divide and conquer.
There are many strategies that travellers have found to work to their
advantage. Here are a few of them, but rememeber that you will need to find
more for yourself.
1.Beware Xiphon freeloaders. These are fighters affiliated to one side or the
other but not staioned at any particular base. Freeloaders wander around the
universe looking for action. They have very long range radar and can travel at
tremendous speed. They appear when you least expect like a bat out of hell.
Freeloaders like to find solitary ships and once they have you in their sights
they are hard to get rid of. A favourite haunt of freeloaders are the entry
poles where ships having made the inter-universe jump emerge. Once you arrive
in a new universe, get moving south.
2.If you have a ship on your back which will not die, get some help. Find a
friendly ship or a battle in progress and lure your attacker into a more
complex battle. This will give you more scope and let you play one off against
3.Take your time. Wander around and investigate any action. After you move into
a new area it sometimes takes your radar a little time to pick up data. Ships
that are travelling alone or in groups are often engaged on (relatively)
peaceful missions and won't fight unless attacked. Ships on supply trips are
often ambushed and if you follow them at a discreet distance you may get the
chance to join in on the action when they (for their attackers) are weak from
4.Think before getting involved in a battle too close to a base. The Xiphons
have long since lost the technology for manufacturing bases or space stations
and there is a tacit agreement on both sides not to attack them directly. The
Pios and Qons often fight near to a base and sometimes use it for cover. In
these situations your best strategy is to decide on a target, catch it when it
is momentarily isolated and draw it away from the fray. It is as well to
understand the psychology of the base garrisons. They do not expect to be
attacked and in most cases only a lunatic would do so. If a missile gets too
close, a base will probably shoot it down. This is usually only a precaution on
the part of the base and does not necessarily indicate hostility.
If you fire repeatedly directly on a base you may cause some damage before it
lets rip with its powerful armoury. If you do not get into a situation where a
base starts firing in a determined way, make a rapid exit before your energy
resources are sucked dry by your shields. There are times when you can destroy
a base with ordinary weapons. This situation arises when a base is weak for
some reason. The only way to find out is through intelligence supplied by
another base. The only weapon which is virtually guaranteed to take out a base
(or anything else) is a nuke. Nukes are outlawed everywhere in the universes
and are morally very dubious (as well as being expensive). You will probably
wish to avoid these weapons on ethical grounds.
5.When you are docked with a friendly base, take advantage of the temporary
alliance to improve your intelligence. Bases will often respond to a request
for 'help'. If a base offers you a mission, weigh up the advantages and risks
6.Don't get involved in long chases after enemy ships. Often a ship may appear
to be fleeing. Usually what it is really doing is trying t lure you into empty
space where you are sure to get lost and die. Resist the temptation to chase at
full throttle. Hang around. He will probably come back to you and you can zapp
him at closer range.
7. Make sure that you have plenty of fuel, energy and fire power before you
make an inter-universe jump. You will lose energy in the jump and anything
could be waiting for you on the other side.
8.Be nice to wanderers, the creatures that live in the vicinity of the pole
bases. They can save you a lot of trouble by guiding you to the pole base.
These creatures are not involved in the war and don't mean anyone harm.
Nonetheless, they must sometimes be protected from Xiphons who simply regard
them as a nuisance. It is immoral to fire at wanderers.
Although the Xiphon universe is for the most part closed to the rest of
civilisation, since Xiphos quit running things, the force shields protecting
the outer Universe have become weak and broken in many places. The inhabitants
of this Universe have been a war with one another for many years and now have
little that makes them attractive to outside raiders.
Outside the Xiphon system, however life is highly civilised and provides
little scope for those who enjoy a good punch up. For this and other reasons it
has become the custom for young warriors, wishing to flex their muscles and
sharpen up their combat skills, to stock their ships with ammunition and launch
themselves into Xiphon territory with the single aim of defeating as many
Xiphons of either faction, as possible.
As one of these reckless young warriors you enter the Xiphon system. You need
to know little of Xiphon politics as you not need to dock with bases or make
the jump between Universes.
Because your ship is not loaded down with the heavy equipment needed for
docking and inter-universe travle you are able to carry a convertor capable of
slavaging energy from the radiation emitted by disintegrating ships. Sifficient
reserve energy is available to overcome the potential field that pervades the
Xiphon system and you will not have to contend with the problems of energy
management which dog the pilots of the Arrow and other heavier ships.
Your propulsion system also is simplified and gathers reaction mass
automatically from the debris that litters the Xiphon territory. Your arsenal
includes only the lighter weapons, Lock and LOS missiles and because you carry
no FAF missiles you have room for a virtually unlimited supply.
The seedy space rangers' bars, found in the regions around the Xiphon
perimeter, are full of warriors making wild claims of the number of ships they
blew up before breakfast. Most of the boasts are wildly inflated and no-one
will believe your stories unless you have proof. To maintain your astro-cred,
you carry an on board a verification system to record kills. The numeric
displays on the left and right hand of the ship control panel count up kills.
Pio ships are on the left and Qon on the right.
Your raider ship is a lighter version of the Arrow. The basic control system
is the same, but the ship is generally less well equipped and lacks docking
tackle and heavier weapon types.
XIPHOS - THE GAME
Your mission as the Galactic Council's chosen agent is to make your way by
whatever means to the very centre of the Xiphon universe system and there to
locate and destroy the giant mad intelligence Xiphos who, it is said, lurks in
this desolate region.
Because Xiphos is a pure inteligence there is no way of knowing how he will
appear to human eyes. His appearance is unlikely to be prepossessing.
From the moment you select 'Play Xiphos' from the title screen you are on
your own in Xiphon territory. From then until your death (or just possibly the
successful destruction of Xiphos) you rely on wits and skill to survive. As
your prelaunched ship heads into the outer Universe under auto control, you are
teleported via a matter transmission beam into the cockpit. This will be your
home for the duration of the adventure and probably also your morgue.
To reach the innermost Universe and the location of Xiphos, you must traverse
all five of the enclosing Universes, each with its own hazards and dangers. If
against all the odds, you make it to the inner Universe you will probably not
survive the encounter with Xiphos.
Each universe extends infinitely in all directions but contains a populated
region, which is now the theatre of a Xiphon war. There is only one way to
enter a Universe and only one way to leave it: via the entry and exit poles
situated somewhere on the extremes of the populated region.
The exit poles are guarded by pole bases which control passage into the next
Universe. Once inside a Universe you must not stray outside the populated area.
Since Xiphos stopped maintaining the Universe structure, these outer reaches
have become destablised by fierce magnetic storms whcih draw ships into
oblivion. Your instruments will warn you when you stray from the safer regions.
If you ignore the warning you will certainly become lost in infinite space. In
each Universe your aim must be to reach the exit pole and negotiate passage
with the base that controls it. You should discover which faction controls the
pole base as early as possible by asking for 'help' at friendly bases.
Assuming that you get far, and assuming that you can convince the pole base
that you are friendly, you will be able to buy passage into the next Universe.
You will enter at the entry pole somewhere at the Northern end of the new
universe's populated region.
Although successive universes contain a progressively harsher environment,
the essential geography is the same. While Xiphos was looking after the
Universe system, ships could travel easily through the Universes. Now, however,
a strong field exerts a pull towards the entry pole. Moving North to South
across a Universe is like leaving a planet's gravitational field. You must
supply to overcome the field as you pass through. If you travel back towards
the entry pole you will regain the energy you lost.
So long as you have supplies of energy you will not feel the pull towards the
entry pole. If you run out, the field will pull you North until you have
regained some of the energy you lost travelling South. Overcoming the field is
not the only drain on your energy banks. Your shields burn energy as they
absorb enemy fire and you will also have to supply energy to your weapon
systems. If your energy is low, play safe and travel North. Once your energy is
gone you will not survive enemy fire.
The current game position can be saved whenever you are docked at a pole base
in universes 2,3,4, or 5. The command 'save' will cause the base to let you buy
To save a game you will need a formatted disk.
Typed by THE JESTER of QUARTEX. Edited by PARASITE.
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